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Hydration and Dehydration

July 15, 2018

Contributed by Carole Clausen, Personal Trainer, Fellowship Senior Living

Hydration is a vital element to staying healthy.  Older adults may have a diminished sense of thirst, urinary incontinence, or take medications that impact fluid intake or fluids stored in the body. Therefore it is important for older adults to maintain adequate fluid intake.

Proper hydration supports an intricate system of keeping the fluids and electrolytes balanced in our bodies. Water is essential for maintaining this fluid balance as it helps control body temperature; assists the body in insulating itself against cold; delivers nutrients and medications to cells and carries away waste; keeps mouth, nose, eyes, and skin moist; ensures proper volume of blood; and keeps the urinary tract flushed out, thus reducing the risk of urinary tract infections.

The recommended daily fluid intake to keep your body hydrated is 48 to 64 ounces, or 6 to 8 eight ounce glasses. This may sound like a lot, but your daily hydration requirement needn't be filled entirely from the tap. Foods and beverages that contribute to your daily intake levels include milk, soup, fruit and vegetable juices, gelatin, apples, watermelon, decaffeinated soft drinks, tea, and even cooked broccoli. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol do not contribute to your daily intake.  They actually act as diuretics-contributing to water loss-and should be consumed in moderation.

The first sign of dehydration is usually thirst, which generally occurs when there is a 1 to 2% loss of body water.  At a 2-5% loss, symptoms can include dry mouth, flushed skin, headache, fatigue and impaired physical performance. A 6% loss may cause increases in body temperature, heart rate and breathing. With an 8% loss, one may experience dizziness, confusion, increased weakness and labored breathing with daily activites. A loss of 10% body water may cause muscle spasms, swollen tongue and delirium. When the loss drops to 11%, symptoms include poor circulation and failing kidney function.

Don't wait for thirst and other symptoms of dehydration to take action.  Actively prevent fluid loss by starting your morning with water or juice and carry a bottle of water wherever you go. Drink water before, during and after physical activity and take water breaks throughout the day. Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

A Resident's Point of View: Be Prepared!

April 5, 2018

Contributed by Fellowship Village resident, Ralph Ortega

As we go through life, our human needs-shelter, food, socialization-do not change much under ordinary
circumstances.  Mostly, we are able to succeed at dealing with them through our working lives.  After retirement this symmetry generally begins to diminish. At this point in life the Scout motto "Be Prepared" becomes doubly useful.

What to do?  Here is my suggestion:  Examine your situation, your prospects, and make your plans sooner rather than later. Remember the refrain, "The early bird gets the worm" and let me ask you, what is the best way to be early?  Why, by always being prepared.

I urge you to plan early, plan now. This has two advantages.  Plan early while more possibilities and probabilities are both perceived and available, resulting in a better plan. Plus, you'll enjoy the results of your plan for a longer time.

Furthermore, I will add that a Life Plan community (CCRC) is my choice because it meets all the human needs I mentioned earlier:

Shelter:  All home maintenance and utilities are taken care of and included in one monthly fee.

Food:  A flexible meal plan with a variety of delicious choices is included and relieves me of cooking chores.

Health:  All but hospital care is available on-site.

Socialization: You may socialize as little or as often as you wish.  There are ample opportunities within and outside the community.

Residents Find Comprehensive Care at the Fellowship Village Medical Center

March 23, 2018

Residents of Fellowship Village needn’t look far when seeking high quality medical care. A quick phone call to the on-site Medical Center at Fellowship Village opens the door to a wide range of specialized services.

The center, conveniently located within the Fellowship Village campus, serves all independent, assisted living, and skilled nursing residents of the community.

Convenience and familiarity appeal to resident Joanne Spohler, whose Fellowship Village apartment is just minutes from the Medical Center. “I like the friendly staff.  They know all about me ” she notes.  “It’s a very efficient office and everyone is so pleasant and easy to work with.”

Residents are served by a team of registered nurses and nurse practitioners, as well as physicians and other professionals who specialize in primary care, cardiology, dentistry, wound care, physiatry, dermatology, pain management, podiatry, nutrition, psychology and psychiatry.

The Medical Center also offers easy access to a number of diagnostic tests, pharmacy and laboratory services.  EKG, Doppler, echocardiogram, ultrasound, and pacemaker tests can be performed on site.  And there’s no need to go off campus for x-rays, blood tests, ear flushes, flu shots or orthotic fittings.  

Monthly informational programs presented by physicians and nurses keep residents abreast of health issues that concern older adults.  Annual Medicare Wellness consultations are available and the center partners with the Bernards Township Health Department to host skin cancer screenings.

Rapid response to emergencies is a benefit that Fellowship Village resident Shiela Conavatchel appreciates.  When she recently fell ill with flu, a simple phone call brought a wheelchair to her door within minutes.  Attentive care and daily meal deliveries helped Mrs. Conavatchel feel safe as she recovered in her apartment.  “What if I hadn’t moved to Fellowship Village and was home all alone? What would I do?" she reflected.  "They’re here for me and it’s great.”

Campus security and 24/7 coverage by registered nurses in the skilled nursing center at Fellowship Village assures around the clock emergency response after the Medical Center closes. When a nightime emergency occurs at Fellowship Village, a nurse quickly assesses the situation and proceeds accordingly.  Perhaps a hospital visit is necessary, but often the resident can remain at Fellowship Village with follow-up care by the Medical Center team.

Make a Difference - Be a Hospice Volunteer

February 23, 2018

If you're seeking an enriching volunteer experience, consider joining the Fellowship Garden State Hospice team as a volunteer. 

Volunteers play a critical role in hospice care by supporting terminally ill patients, their families and our interdisciplinary team of care providers.  Fellowship Garden State Hospice has many volunteer opportunities available:

Spend time with a terminally ill patient, as a friendly visitor, to read, play a game, listen to music, or just chat.  

If you have barbering or hairdressing skills, share them!  We all feel better after a little professional grooming; this is especially true for those who aren't well.

It's widely acknowleded that music is comforting to patients.  Bring your instrument or sing to lift the spirits of a hospice patient.

Hospice bereavement care continues for up to 13 months following the patient's death.  Volunteers can phone or visit grieving family members.

If you prefer not to be directly involved with patients, we welcome volunteer assistance in the in the hospice office, located at
Fellowship Village in Basking Ridge.

How do you become a Fellowship Garden State Hospice volunteer?

Volunteers who work directly with patients and their families should be good listeners, compassionate, empathetic and comfortable in the presence of the terminally ill.   Special talents or skills, as decribed above are a welcome bonus, but not necessary.

Fellowship Garden State Hospice will be offering a free training program at Fellowship Village to educate participants about hospice care and the role of volunteers. It will include all the information you need to feel knowledgable and comfortable.  (For more information about Fellowship Garden State Hospice, see our February 22, 2018 Blog below.)

Applicants will need to provide a current physical examination, show a negative PPD or chest w-ray result and undergo a background check.

For more information, contact:

Nicole Atorino, 908-966-0886, natorino@fellowshipsl.org

Carolyn Vadimski, 908-432-7277, cvadimski@fellowshipsl.org

Introducing Fellowship Garden State Hospice

February 22, 2018

Fellowship Garden State Hospice is the newest program to join Fellowship Senior Living's array of home community based services.  Dedicated to offering compassion and support to terminally ill patients and their familiies, the Fellowship Garden State Hospice team serves residents of Essex, Hunterdon, Morris Somerset, Union and Warren counties.

Hospice is based on the belief that each person has the right to die pain-free and with dignity. It helps patients live as fully and confortably as possible, with an emphasis on symptom relief and pain management. The hospice team works with those who are suffering the effects of terminal illnesses that include cancer, advanced cardiac disorders, neurological disorders and any end-stage disease.

Some Common Hospice Myths and Misconceptions

Hospice is a place: Hospice is a philosophy of care, delivered wherever the patient calls home-in a private residence, assisted living, nursing home, free-standing hospice care center, or a residential community.

Hospice care means that death is imminent and is given in the last few days or weeks of life: Receiving hospice care is not about giving up. On the contrary, maximum benefit occurs when hospice is started early and the hospice team can forge meaningful relationships. Introducing hospice care months, rather than weeks in advance, gives the patient and family time to address other issues. 

Hospice hastens death: Hospice provides pain relief, emotional and spiritual support for patients; thus easing the transition from life to death. Hospice seeks to allow dying to take place naturally. Some individuals actually show improvement as their pain is managed and quality of life is enhanced.

Hospice care is expensive:  Hospice is not a financial burden. Services are covered by Medicare A, Medicaid, and many private insurers. Benefit periods are renewable.

About Fellowship Garden State Hospice

Hospice care requires an interdisciplinary approach to adddress the medical, spiritual and social needs of patients and families. 

The Fellowship Garden State Hospice team consists of:

A Medical Director whose responsibilities include certifying patient eligibility, providing medical supervision to the care team, and consulting with the patient's atending physician.

The Nursing Supervisor and team of RNs coordinate care, visit patients and perform medical treatments, pain management and symptom control.

A Social Worker assesses the patient's and family's emotional and social needs and provides guidance and counseling.

The Chaplain offers spiritual counseling to the patient and family based on their personal beliefs.  The Chaplain also provides grief counseling to the family up to 13 months following the patient's death and supports the entire hospice team.

Certified Home Health Aides supplement the care provided by the family and the hospice team.  CHHAs work under the supervision of an RN.

Volunteers assist the families and the hospice team, and are supervised by a Volunteer Coordinator.

Call 908-580-9519 to learn more about Fellowship Garden State Hospice.


For more information, call (877) 866-3480 

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